Alberta Ballet’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty, inspired by 1890s Marius Pepita has an Alberta twist; bringing the fairy tale to life in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. 

The ballet company has been a staple in both Calgary and Edmonton over the last 60 years. The Sleeping Beauty is the opening performance for the 2023/24 season. Their artistic director says it is one of the biggest, boldest and largest scale productions Alberta Ballet has ever produced, highlighting all of the attributes the organization offers.

“Our production is really across the generations of dancers that are all connected to the Alberta Ballet and so it’s really a wonderful way to kind of showcase and bring together all of the different things that I think make Alberta Ballet a celebrated institution in the province,” said Christopher Anderson. 

During the 1800s, Pepita started as a ballet dancer and grew into one of the most well known ballet choreographers. 

Today his work is used as a “template for almost all of the classical works that exist,” Anderson explained. 

The Sleeping Beauty at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY BRITTON LEDINGHAM

“He also created a large catalogue of works that really sort of elevated the technical level of the art form at the time and also created the foundation for dance to then expand around the world.” 

Although Pepita’s choreography appears globally in ballet institutions, each ballet director adds their own twist to the performance. Anderson’s version brings The Sleeping Beauty to life in an Alberta setting. 

Traditionally, the play is captured in a European setting but set designer Curtis Van Charles and Anderson have worked together to create a set representative of the Alberta wilderness. 

One example is the rose Aurora famously pricks her finger on, which is an Alberta wild rose.

The background is designed to allow the audience to feel a sense of familiarity, allowing a deepening connection to the performance while also celebrating the province.   

The ballet runs in Calgary from Oct. 26-28 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

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Students and seniors can purchase discounted tickets on site at the Jubilee the day of their desired performance. “Rush” tickets can only be used on the day of purchase. A valid student ID will be required to purchase a ”rush” ticket, which is limited to one per person.

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